Southeast Missouri State University student Jessica Neal recently was appointed as a campus ambassador for Agriculture Future of America (AFA) and will participate in her first meeting in Kansas City April 6-8.
Neal, an agricultural education major from Brownsville, Tennessee, will get to interact with agribusiness leaders and serve as a liaison between AFA and university faculty, staff and fellow students. AFA selected 10 student advisory team members and 19 campus ambassadors to serve for the 2017-2018 year. The students represent 29 schools from 25 states.
“I hope to bring more agriculture opportunities to students at Southeast, while also working with AFA and their sponsors to broaden my knowledge of the agriculture industry,” Neal said.
Neal believes reaching out to her fellow students will be an important responsibility. “I want every student in the agriculture department to know that I’m here for them and willing to help in any way possible,” she said.
The student leaders and campus ambassadors begin their term April 6-8, when all 29 students meet in Kansas City for training and to develop the conference theme for the AFA Leaders Conference Nov. 2-5 in Kansas City.
Neal plans on using her experiences in the industry and her desire to learn as she begins her new appointment.
“I feel like the will to want to grow within the industry and better myself is one of the best qualifications I have,” she said. “I love this industry and I love the opportunities that come from being a part of this industry, and I want to be a tiny piece of the big puzzle working together to make this industry what it is.
“I’ve spent the last six years learning about agriculture from my high school years to my college years, but I don’t think that being a student alone has prepared me,” Neal said. “I come from a multigenerational family farm, and I believe that is what has prepared me.”
Neal also is a founding member of Collegiate FFA and serves as president.